Americas Policy Group welcomes the release of Colombian hostages

July 4, 2008

The Americas Policy Group, of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, welcomes the news of the liberation of the 15 hostages, including ex-Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt on July 2nd. The APG celebrates the safe return of the hostages to their families along with many Colombians and members of the international community. The hostages had been held under FARC-EP captivity in what constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law. The APG is glad to learn that the operation to free the hostages was conducted without the use of violence. The APG remains extremely concerned for the safety of the remaining hostages and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

At the same time, the APG is deeply disturbed by the fragility of democracy in Colombia and by ongoing reports of grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law perpetrated by groups such as the FARC-EP as well as by state security forces and army-backed paramilitaries.

The APG calls upon the Colombian government, the army, the FARC-EP and other armed groups, to commit to a genuine negotiated peace process in order to find enduring, just political solutions to the decades long conflict.

For more information contact:

Fiona Meyer Cook
Americas Policy Group
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Tel: (613) 241-7007 ext. 333
fmeyercook@ccic.ca